Discharge
Why


5.0
classic

Review

by illmitch USER (11 Reviews)
August 6th, 2009 | 32 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The definition of seminal.

When it comes to classic hardcore, Discharge are truly one of the all-time greats. They released their first single in 1980 – the Realities of War 7” – and followed that up with two more 7”s in that year, Fight Back and Decontrol, revolutionizing punk while they were at it. By the time they put out the 1981 EP Why, it was all over – Discharge stood as clear innovators in the punk scene. They went on to release a slew of singles and EPs, growing more and more metallic, until they went all Tom G. Warrior on our asses with the glam metal album Grave New World. Actually, you could say that Tom G. Warrior actually went Discharge on our asses, because Discharge’s glam metal messup predates the Celtic Frost one by two years.

But I digress.

Discharge play a different breed of hardcore, and you can tell this from the opening notes of the very first song, “Visions of War”. After the initial chaos, Discharge starts playing the actual music, and it’s so much more chaotic than any set of random notes could ever hope to be. The typical Discharge song is composed of a couple frenetic guitar riffs (usually alternated between the verse and chorus), one of their characteristic pummeling drum beats (bum DA dum da DA), and Cal’s unbelievably gruff vocals, which are interrupted once a song so that the guitar can play a “lead” of sorts of a couple notes. It’s a pretty simple formula, but it works out to be so much more than the sum of its parts.

Men women and children cry and scream in pain
Wounded by bomb splinters
Streets littered with maimed and slaughtered
In rigid pathetic heaps


The lyrics are equally simplistic, yet equally effective. The incredibly harsh and angry way that they are delivered only adds to their raw truth. Discharge’s lyrical pursuits are limited to a couple of subjects: namely, war and the system. Verses are usually only one or two sentences long, and are almost always repeated; a chorus can just be a handful of words. This simplicity really only adds to Discharge’s sound and atmosphere, however.

In order to satisfy their mania for conquest, lives are squandered
To satisfy their mania, mania for conquest
Civilians torn from their families, happy homes destroyed
And for what?
To satisfy their mania, mania for conquest


There’s just something magical about this band – some special element – that elevates them far above their peers. Discharge manage to transplant you into some mystical world that can only be seen in black and white, where you’re all British punks with leather jackets and spiky hair, and you’re perpetually being pursued by the cops, who seek to draft you into the army so you can get blown into parts by nuclear bombs and their sadistic pleasures are fulfilled. It’s a very harsh and stereotypical view of the world, but somehow it works, and their message lives on to this day. They certainly inspired their share of imitators: an entire subgenre of hardcore punk called D-Beat exists dedicated to Discharge. Some execute the “formula” better than others, but nobody will ever be able to top the original band. Discharge’s inspiration is clear to see in extreme metal as well. Even when bands weren’t actually covering their songs (as Napalm Death, Metallica, and Sepultura did), the influence on primal thrash is plain to see.

This album is generally found packaged with the first three 7”s. While these singles contain some of my favorite material from Discharge (among other tracks, “Fight Back”, “Society’s Victim”, and “You Take Part in Controlling This System”), I feel that Why is the best expression of the raw Discharge formula, and so stuck to it in my review. The earlier material is more formative and finds them still figuring out their sound, and so I don’t recommend it as much for new listeners.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

kinda short but i think it works

BallsToTheWall
August 6th 2009


44606 Comments


Agreed and great review. Just needs some artwork, proper tracklisting, and date. Underrated band FTW.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah whoever uploaded this album before me sucks, i tried adding proper tracklisting and everything but it didn't work.

Roach
August 6th 2009


2148 Comments


For some reason I've never really bothered with Discharge but I guess I'll have to look into them.

kitsch
August 6th 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

review and album kicks so much ass

noisymugwump
August 6th 2009


103 Comments


Good review there ol' pal. And to Countorus, Dr. Know is an outstanding band but not really relevant to Discharge apart from a few d-beat style riffs.

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks man. did you like the celtic frost reference?

Phantom
August 6th 2009


8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yaaaaaay, Discharge.

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah whoever uploaded this album before me sucks, i tried adding proper tracklisting and everything but it didn't work.


:-O


when i wrote this review, the album "Why" was already on this site, albeit with no review. so i wrote the review and put down release date and track listing when it prompted me, but it took the version already on here.

Roach
August 6th 2009


2148 Comments


Listened to this and it's okay but nothing too special in my opinion.

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i appreciate that. this isn't one of those albums where you have to listen to it a lot before you appreciate it - discharge are just discharge, there's no higher level of consciousness that you attain by listening to their album 15 times in a row. i think with this you just like it or you don't.

TricksterGRex
August 6th 2009


2087 Comments


this rules good rec man

i would personally take out the BBcode for the quotes and just put quotation marks around them since it kinda fucks with the formatting, but cool review otherwise

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks! yeah the BBcode does fuck up the formatting, i'll do that

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

okay, i changed the quote tags to bold and i also managed to edit the art and song titles

BallsToTheWall
August 6th 2009


44606 Comments


Boner

illmitch
August 6th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

BROner

illmitch
August 7th 2009


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

wat

TrojanWhore
August 9th 2009


752 Comments


Mates band is supporting them soon. Sownd. Need to grab this.

noisymugwump
August 13th 2009


103 Comments


WHY WHY WHYWHYWHYYYYYYYYYYYY

Just had to get that off my chest.

NOISECORE
April 17th 2011


80 Comments


pretty much laid out the blueprint for grind. Probably the heaviest album out at the time.



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